PARENTS

'Fresh Semen' Brokers Face Prosecution Over Unlawful Fertility Business

15/09/2010 11:59 | Updated 22 May 2015

Two men have appeared in court accused of being brokers in the sale of 'fresh' semen.

The duo, Nigel Woodforth, 43, and Ricky Gage, 49, ran a website, first4fertility.com, which allowed would-be-parents to select potential donors through appearance, education and hobbies, and purchase their donated sperm.

One client, Ms Bhalla-Pentley, told the court how she paid out £680 to the company in joining fees, and 'contact details' costs.

She also spent an extra £150 for a delivery of sperm in June, 2008.

Ms Bhalla-Pentley claimed the package was courier-delivered at midnight, wrapped in grey polythene and containing the sperm donation, a syringe and instructions for insemination.

After her attempts to conceive failed, Ms Bhalla-Pentley emailed the company requesting details of the donor's most recent STD test.

To her surprise, she was subsequently sent papers with the donor's full name on.

She contacted the defendants saying: 'You seem to have completely ignored the email I sent you regarding anonymity. The donor is supposed to remain totally anonymous to us, however, when you sent us a copy of the lab test the donor's name was just lined through with a black marker therefore we know his name.'

She discovered the donor was a personal trainer and managed to find pictures of him on the internet.

Ms Bhalla-Pentley told the company: 'This is a very serious breach on your company's part,' and requested a refund of £300.

When this was refused, she threatened to take further action, emailing them: 'You are obviously not running a very professional services if you cannot omit the name of the donor.'

Fertility First, who initially traded under Sperm Direct then First4Fertility, told the court that donors were paid £50 a time for their sperm and that once a client paid their £300 joining fee, the donor was 'reserved for them only' during the woman's four-day ovulation period.

Gage and Woodforth, who are on trial accused of running the business without a licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, deny two counts of procuring gametes for human application.

The trial continues.

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